The Harmonization and Liberation of Body and Mind

The Harmonization and Liberation of Body and Mind

A balance between the body's sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems should be constantly maintained; otherwise, one will not only be unhealthy physiologically, but also be unhealthy in respect of psychological and character development.

If the balance tilts toward the sympathetic nervous system, then one will tend to be sensitive, selfish, impatient, irascible, unfriendly, and unlikable. If the balance leans toward the other side, then one will be simple, sincere, steady, optimistic, and genial.

In the first case, on the positive side, one might become a proud and aloof philosopher, a shrewd and steel-willed general, or a cynical scholar who detests the world and its ways. On the negative side, one might become an opinionated, violent, vile, and unruly rogue.

In the second case, on the positive side, one might become a compassionate religious leader, a magnanimous statesman, or a broad-minded artist. On the negative side, one may become a person lacking ambition and principles who pays no heed to the line between good and evil and right and wrong, and who says yes to every request.

Of course, if the balance is totally inclined either way, the result will certainly tend to be negative. If one already exhibits positive traits, then it definitely is due more or less to the harmonious cooperation between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Chan meditation is a method to harmonize the functions of the body's organs and tissues, helping them to work normally and to achieve their best performance. It starts with tuning the body, breath, and mind, so as to reduce the burden on the sympathetic nervous system, weaken the influence of subjective consciousness, and gradually expand the boundary of self-centeredness until ultimately the existence of self is forgotten, and subjective consciousness melts away into objective consciousness.

For those having reached the stage, their mental afflictions, though not yet thoroughly eliminated, can no longer pose a threat to their physical and mental health.

The reason one has such vexations as greed, hatred, unforgivingness, and resistance to self-reflection and reasoning lies in one's excessive subjectivity. People with such a mind-set believe that although they are separate from all things, nothing should contradict their subjective thinking.

When they don't have what they want, they will strive after it; after attaining it, they fear losing it if it is really enjoyable, but fear not being able to dispose of it if they find it detestable. In other words, when they are unable to get what they want, they are no doubt afflicted, but even after attaining what they want, they are still encircled by various afflictions.

Only Chan meditation can gradually transform our self-centered subjective mind-set into an objective one. It will slowly raise us from the depths of the pit of distorted perceptions and afflictions to the free world of objective consciousness, thus liberating our body and mind.

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